I really was happy when high school and college were over and I thought I was done with dealing with “mean girls.” You know the type – the ones who look you up and down passing silent judgment as they do. You walk away either hearing the comments, the whispers, or just KNOWING that something is being said. Worse yet are the ones who make the nasty comments directly to your face.
I have gone through various phases in my life. The cute little kid. The chubby elementary school kid. The incredibly awkward (read “unattractive”) preteen. The decent looking high schooler. I’m now the overweight, over 40 mother of 3. I have had my moments when I have looked good and moments, like now, when I know I could look better. Suffice to say that my self-esteem isn’t where it should be. I am confident enough to know that I have done my best to not look down on anyone by their attire or body size/shape. Yes, I have passed judgment (I’d like to know someone who hasn’t). But I’m also old enough to know that everyone has their own battles they are working through and I’m not above anyone, so I have no right to pass judgment. Shame on me. Quite frankly, 98% of the time I have other things on my mind than to worry about what the woman next to me in line is wearing.
Unfortunately, I still have been in business situations, or in personal situations (particularly with other moms) where I KNOW I am being analyzed head-to-toe. At those times I’d love to put down my Coach or Vera purse (I have a purse thing, but not a shoe thing, work with me here) and make sure that I have my crappiest track pants on (after wearing Corporate attire all day) to ensure that I am “deserving” of such judgment. Then give a nasty look back. But, honestly, I don’t care. At work, I dress well, but I don’t have the cash to dress in all designer clothing (I’m a single mom of 3, I have other things to spend money on). Clothing has never been my top priority. Allow me to pass judgment (in self-defense, of sorts) of those women who are looking at me – I just want to stare back, then ask if they are that empty inside that they have nothing else to concern themselves with that they need to worry about me. (I believe I have mentioned in other blogs that I can be evil.) I digress.
I really thought I was past all of this pettiness as I grew older. Sadly, I was mistaken. I’m also dealing with my two early teen daughters going through the judgments that are a truly unfortunate part of growing up. One of my daughters is concerned with being popular and, as a result, has all of the baggage that comes along with that. I have made her watch the movie “Mean Girls” several times and she now loves it. Great lessons there about how we become someone we never intended sometimes. Also, it’s a great insight into the teen girl mind, in my humble opinion. My other daughter is more of the artistic type and I have always encouraged that. I love that about her. Unfortunately, her free spirit does not always endear her to her “friends” and classmates and she has been on the receiving end of too many “mean girl” comments to count. Ridiculous comments about the nails she spent over an hour painting the night before looking ugly. Comments about her hair not looking right. Cruel and needless, plain and simple.
Steadfast, I continue to repeat the mantra, “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” They have heard that phrase from me all of their lives and I try to emulate it. I do my best, and do fail too often, at being a good person. I do lose my temper. I do pass judgment. But, I do my best to keep my judgments to myself rather than belittle someone. No one knows the path I have walked and I don’t know the paths of others. It is not my place to be negative about someone else’s appearance.
My biggest questions are –
- What do the mothers of these mean girls tell them? Are they teaching them the golden rule? Or is the focus in the home on appearance?
- Is our society so far broken and image so highly valued by the media that mean girls will always be an issue?
- Whatever happened to focusing on substance?
- Are mean girls destined to grow up to mean women? Or is there a chance for some sort of epiphany and a new-found kindness for others?
I’m definitely in favor of always wearing clean underwear in case of an accident and bathing daily, but clothes do not make a person. How can you judge a person’s character by their weight or the label you assume is on their clothing? Ugly inside truly does equal ugly outside. All of the beautiful clothing in the world can never mask the hateful things that come out of people’s mouths and cause hurts that echo in the minds of the recipient. I really thought I was past this petty period of my life, unfortunately the part of us that remains young forever sometimes includes the bad, too.